A recent accident involving a young mother and her baby at the four-way intersection on Chestnut has highlighted some of the issues involving the relationship between pedestrians and motorists in Oxford.
Lindsay Swift was attempting to cross the street with her one-year-old, Makalya, when a vehicle driven by a Miami University student struck her.
“I was probably three or four steps when the guy that was sitting at the red light decided he would make a right on red,” Swift said via e-mail. “But he forgot to look both ways. My friend who was with me saw this happening and tried to push me out of the way.”
Fortunately, the impact only resulted in minor injuries and rattled emotions for both victims.
“After it happened, I just looked at her and (by) mother’s instinct knew she was okay,” Swift said. “The stroller did a good job of protecting her; the stroller frame and my body absorbed all the impact.”
Swift said the close call has made her more wary of traffic in Oxford.
“We have to be very careful as drivers and pedestrians,” Swift said. “Oxford is a town that has a lot of foot traffic on and away from campus. I know now is such a busy time for everyone, people are pulling all-nighters, getting ready for finals, saying good-bye to the friends they have made and celebrating the end of the school year. It’s so important, though, to stay in the present moment when you’re driving.”
The Oxford Police Department (OPD) is trying to minimize incidents like these by issuing jaywalking tickets when the situation is warranted, Sgt. Jim Squance said.
“I think some officers in nights have been cracking down on the jaywalking issue,” Squance said. “We have issued a few. Most of the tickets I’ve seen have been flagrant violations where the person stepped out in front of a car or there’s jeopardy of causing harm.”
Squance also said the drivers are responsible and held accountable for yielding to the right-of-way when appropriate.
Justin Reddington, a Miami junior who transferred this year from University of Cincinnati, acknowledged some stark differences between how pedestrians function here as opposed to Cincinnati.
“When I first came to Oxford I was surprised when I was walking to class to see how everyone walks out in front of cars and all over the street,” Reddington said. “Students and pedestrians at UC respect the cross signs and the crosswalks.”
Oxford pedestrians are riskier than most people Reddington knows.
“Even when my friends come visit from other universities, they’re surprised how we walk and cross the street here at Miami,” Reddington said. “I can get to places a lot quicker because I’m not waiting to cross the street. It might be riskier, but it saves time when walking to class.”